And then I tried… BumpTop


A few years ago, there was this cool demo of a new desktop metaphor where your files were actual objects you could shove around, stack, fan out, pin to the sides and stuff.

Me, I am hardly ever looking at my desktop. Usually there’s a game going on, or I’m working in Photoshop, or just browsing the web — but I’m hardly ever just arranging icons on my desktop, and that seems to be all this program really did. To be honest, all I really need in a desktop is… hmm… launching programs that aren’t used enough to make it into my Start menu, I guess.

Anyway, it was finally released a couple of days ago, there’s a free demo version, so I figured, why not?

And … it’s pretty cool at keeping my desktop icons organized. I told it about some picture folders I had, and it puts a slideshow of those folders up on the wall. I dumped a bunch of game screenshots onto the desktop and it organized them into neat piles. I put some frames from the comic I was working on there, and it looked cool.

I tried to drag stuff to the Twitter widget to automatically post it, but it insisted (wrongly) that I was giving it an incorrect user id or password, so that test didn’t go smoothly.

It’s a neat idea, but I wonder if it rises about merely a gimmick. The kind of stuff BumpTop does well, is not the kind of stuff I spend much time doing.

Anyway, judge for yourself — video embedded below.

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Web developer for a Connecticut-based insurance company that's over 200 years old! Also a bicycler, a blogger, a kayaker, and a hunter of bridges.

6 thoughts on “And then I tried… BumpTop”

  1. I am not so sure I would need this at home, but might play around with it. For work I use Compiz to get multiple screens to switch between and a little bit of extra effects around that (run Linux on my work laptop, not sure if Compiz is available for Windows).

  2. I’ve been using it for a day now. It slowed down Photoshop enough so that I had to disable it, and today when I was playing Secondhand Lands, Fraps wasn’t able to figure out which window it was supposed to capture — the BumpTop or the game, so it had to go away once more.

    That said, there’s a lot of potential in this, especially when they open up the API to allow programmers to add widgets to it.

    @Sente — I use Compiz on my Linux computer. But since I don’t game on it, I am looking at the desktop there a lot more — I would love to see a Window Manager built around BumpTop.

  3. I don’t see the point. I don’t like having a messy desk in real life, why would I want one on my computer too?

    Most of the recent advancements in GUIs have been to move away from the desktop model. Non-hierarchical file browsing (such as the Libraries feature in Windows 7), Google-style interaction (Windows Search bar, Finder), lifestreams (time-based interaction) and so on.

    Heck, desktop applications are even starting to emulate web applications, which don’t typically involve icons and traditional vertical menu interaction; hypertext and breadcrumb navigation are a big part of any modern desktop application’s GUI.

    I’ll see the point of 3D on the desktop when it’s used to move beyond the limitations of WIMP interaction. For example, 3D interaction to scroll back in time to view and retrieve older versions of a file (like Apple’s Time Machine) makes sense. But 3D rotatable rooms to hang your icons on? That’s cute, but just plain silly.

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